Tag Archives: war on terror

Why Glenn Greenwald Is Wrong?

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image of Glenn GreenwaldToday in my twitter stream was someone ranting about Glenn Greenwald and Katrina vanden Heuvel writing nice things about Ron Paul. In fact the person said both were RWNJs for supporting Paul. Of course the tweeter was wrong. Neither was supporting Paul only pointing out the ideas that Paul has that liberals usually support. I agree with most of what Greenwald writes but when talking about Ron Paul I disagree with his unstated conclusion.
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Should I feel good that Bin Laden is dead?

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I am strongly opposed to the death penalty. It is a waste of time and money and isn’t justice. I strongly support the rule of law, due process, and the criminal court system. I seemed to throw all that out late Sunday evening when I learned that US Special Forces killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

I was concerned when the media started to ramp up coverage late Sunday evening for an unusal statement from President Obama about a publicly unknown topic. Such sudden statements either mean a military operation has occurred, there was a death of a significant figure, or a killer asteroid was about to snuff out civilization. None of those are really good news but the President surprised me. He announced that the terrorist Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a raid on a house in Pakistan by US Special Forces (reports say it was a Navy Seal team).

I fully support due process and the legal system but Bin Laden wouldn’t give up so his death is not a problem for me. He was either going to be dead in a shoot out or dead from old age in a dank dark prison and I am slightly happy about it. The man helped plan, fund, and execute terrorist activities including 9/11 that killed THOUSANDS.

But let me be clear I do NOT support an eye for an eye. I would have been just as happy if he was alive and in custody and on his way to Gitmo or wherever the government would put him.

I have never believed that the death of a criminal in response to the deaths of their victims is appropriate. I also disagree with any policy that would call for targeted killing of “bad guys”. I would like to think, short of evidence to the contrary, that President Obama authorized the capture of Bin Laden and that he forced the fire fight that in the end led to his death.

Sunday night, after the statement, the news channels showed crowds in DC and New York celebrating like their favorite team had won the World Cup. I understand the emotion but it was no better than the scenes on 9/11 of Palestinians dancing in their streets.

The death of Bin Laden wasn’t a victory or justice. It was an end to a chapter of our history. It was 10 years in the making.

I also have some friends who are a bit upset at the use of the military and the killing.

I have always been of the mind that sometimes use of the military is necessary. Using the legal system and police work should be the default but sometimes we have to deal with irrational assholes who don’t subscribe to law and order.

I thought the invasion of Afghanistan after the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden was the right thing to do and the use of Special Forces to raid Bin Laden’s compound on Sunday without telling Pakistan was also correct. There have been a lot of questions about the Pakistani response to Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. For years it supported Bin Laden and the Taliban as a policy to keep India, their on again off again enemy, off balance.

I also think the burial of Bin Laden within 24 hours of his death as prescribed by Islamic law was much more than he really deserved seeing how his buddies in Iraq and Somalia abused and mutilated dead Americans over the years.

With the final objective of the war in Afghanistan completed with Bin Laden’s death, I would hope we can bring our soldiers home sooner rather than later.

Yes, where WAS the media while the US used torture?

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The most ironic thing about this entire torture scandal isn’t that the Bushies and their neo-con lackies are trying to defend the indefensible – which is funny and sad at the same time, but that our mainstream press is now doing their job and asking tough questions and not letting the Bushies off as easy as before. I mean it looks really bad to know they ignored the topic since 2001 when it first came out.

I’m with blogger wmtriallawyer who wrote:

Oh yes, outside of the loons of Hannity, et. al., now many in the mainstream media are showing their absolute indignation (HARUMPH! HARUMPH!) after the Obama administration released the memos to show what we all already knew: the United States of America tortured prisoners, and tried to cook up legal justification for it by calling it enhanced interrogation techniques.

Well, welcome to the club Shep and Norah and whoever else. But you are seven years too late in your outrage.

Where were you this was actually going on? Where were you when the evidence was seeping out? Shoot, where were you when the Bush administration basically admitted they were doing it?

Silent as lambs, you were.

Media Starts Doing Job 7 Years Too Late

So, while I am happy this issue is being treated how it should be – as illegal and un-American – I want to know where the media was seven years ago?

Obama has no right to decide if torture memos should be investigated or prosecuted

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On Thursday, the White House and Department of Justice released four more memos written by President Bush’s Department of Justice rationalizing the use of torture toward detainees caught during our “war on terror”. President Obama said in his comments on the release said “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” However, due to current Federal and international law, the President and Department of Justice have no choice but to investigate and prosecute anyone who allowed the torture or performed it.

Nothing disgusted me more than learning about the torture condoned by the Bush administration and then reading the memos that have been released by the DOJ showing the bizarre lengths the neo-cons in the Bush DOJ went to justify the “legality” of the torture.

I was extremely disappointed to learn that President Obama doesn’t want to investigate and prosecute those who wrote the memos, ordered their writing, or the people who carried them out.

This isn’t like what happened to President Nixon after he left office. Nixon’s crimes were more of a political nature and the “little guys” who carried out his illegal plans did face justice.

The memos released Thursday dealt with torture – which is a war crime and crime against humanity. The penalty for crimes against humanity can be death or life in prison. The memos show that all levels of the Bush administration knew about the torture and allowed it to happen. One of the men who wrote one of the memos is now a Federal District Court Judge and there are calls now to impeach him.

The Huffington Post had a good article summarizing the issue:

Manfred Nowak, the UN rapporteur on torture, says that the US must try those who used harsh interrogation tactics in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture.

Calling for an independent investigations and the compensation of victims, Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard:

“The United States, like all other states that are part of the UN convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court… The fact that you carried out an order doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility.”

Opposition Grows To Obama’s Decision Not To Prosecute CIA Agents

Some former Bush administration have made the laughable argument that release of the memos reveals secrets to “our enemies” and has some how made us all “less safe”. The fact is we have known these methods have been used for some time – “our enemies” knew it too and used it for recruiting purposes.

The other point is torture isn’t just immoral, it’s also ineffective and counterproductive as written by a former interrogation officer Matthew Alexander in an op-ed in the Washington Post and his book on the subject:

I refused to participate in such practices, and a month later, I extended that prohibition to the team of interrogators I was assigned to lead. I taught the members of my unit a new methodology — one based on building rapport with suspects, showing cultural understanding and using good old-fashioned brainpower to tease out information. I personally conducted more than 300 interrogations, and I supervised more than 1,000. The methods my team used are not classified (they’re listed in the unclassified Field Manual), but the way we used them was, I like to think, unique. We got to know our enemies, we learned to negotiate with them, and we adapted criminal investigative techniques to our work (something that the Field Manual permits, under the concept of “ruses and trickery”). It worked. Our efforts started a chain of successes that ultimately led to Zarqawi.

I’m Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq

There is also an online petition that asks the President to appoint a special prosecutor:

No Amnesty for Torturers